Russia’s invasion of Ukraine appears to have unintentionally placed India at the sweetheart of an Indo-Pacific diplomatic triangle. New Delhi had many high-profile guests from major cities worldwide as the conflict approaches its fourth week. At one end of the spectrum, there have been delegations from the United States, Australia, and Japan, India’s Quad allies.
The Quad is ready to overlook India’s failure to denounce Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as evidenced by four recent UN resolutions. The Quad is an informal alliance that strives to strengthen strategic collaboration on security, technology, and the economy while tacitly resisting China’s ambition in the Indo-Pacific.
The high-profile trips are still taking place. On Tuesday, Nikos Dendias, Greece’s foreign minister, and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett should come in early April. However, in an unexpected change of events, China is making overtures to India at this time, requesting New Delhi’s approval for Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit.
India’s stance on Ukraine
On Monday, Victoria Nuland, the United States’ Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, met with India’s Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla to reaffirm the two nations’ commitment to common Indo-Pacific goals. They mentioned the Ukraine war briefly; however, it was almost an afterthought, noted after sections on South Asia, the Indo-Pacific, and West Asia. Dissatisfaction with India’s “shaky” stance on Ukraine, which President Joe Biden referred to hours later in Washington, was not mentioned in the remarks released after the formal meetings.
Meetings with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese colleague Fumio Kishida in New Delhi on Saturday and a virtual conference with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday preceded the talks with the US. Both summits had China at the forefront of their discussions. While Modi mentioned the Himalayan border confrontation in June 2020, Kishida mentioned the territorial issue with China over the Japanese-managed Senkaku Islands, which China refers to as Diaoyu. Kishida also invited Modi to the next Quad Summit in Japan. He pledged a $42 billion investment in India. Except for appeals to cease the war, India did not mention its position on Ukraine.